Pest Proof Your Cottage
Keep Mice from making themselves at Home
You may not think you’ve put out the welcome mat for mice, but a few common oversights can serve as an open invitation.
“Nothing attracts mice more than a bag of birdseed stored in the garage,” says Mark Sampson, owner of Muskoka Pest Control. Firewood stacked by the cottage, or even a sliver of open soffit space can spell trouble, too.
“Mice are always looking for a way in,” says Mark, who notes that mice are becoming a year-round problem for many cottagers. “A fully grown adult mouse can get through a hole the size of a dime, so it’s important to inspect your property carefully for any possible openings.”
He says you should look for cracks in foundations, and caulk any cracks or openings around dryer vents, wiring and soffits. Stuffing steel wool in holes can help, as that hurts intruding faces.
Mark says it’s also wise to consider an exterior baiting program as an effective second line of defense.
“You can’t place exposed bait on a property,” he explains, “as you need to be conscious of harm to pets and other animals. That’s another reason why it’s important to employ a professional for work inside and out.” Muskoka Pest Control uses ministry-approved bait stations only.
It isn’t just the cottage that needs protection: storage areas and external structures can also get overrun.
“Garages and equipment storage areas can make for perfect nesting areas,” he says. Clutter in utility rooms also entices them as “they want to be in places they can hide behind.”
Mice are curious and they love to chew. “They can do a lot of damage, destroying wires, for example, and they’ll bring in acorns and other materials you don’t want. They also carry disease, so you risk contamination if you don’t keep them out.” Rodents like the deer mouse common to Muskoka can spread the Hantavirus to humans by shedding the virus in their saliva, urine and droppings.
Mark’s company offers a cottage care program that provides two treatments a year to keep ants, spiders and rodents away.
“Sometimes clients make the mistake of thinking they can skip the yearly fall treatment because they haven’t had a recent problem with mice. But the reason they haven’t seen them is because I’ve been doing my job,” says Mark, who has 30 years’ experience controlling pests for Muskoka cottagers and homeowners.
“We also answer calls for squirrels, skunks, raccoons, beavers, otters and bats. Sometimes it’s a matter of trapping something or even arranging for repairs after animals like these have caused serious damage,” he says.